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  • The Seven Realms of Darkness : The Stage Is Set
    by King, Irving Walter

    On the way to work, Carl’s ordinary life takes a wild change into an adventure
    that will change him forever. During his journey, he encounters many twists and
    turns, with the decisions he makes effecting the very fabric of existence for
    all creation. Befriended by a strange and mysterious creature, Carl realizes
    that in fact his journey does have a purpose, a goal that will either bring him
    closer to home, or to the very depths of Hell itself.
    The Seven Realms of Darkness : The Stage Is Set
  • The Crossroad
    by Lewis, Beverly

    Philip Bradley returns to the city but cannot forget Rachel Yoder. Another visit
    shows him that he must join her Amish life or leave forever.
    The Crossroad
  • Beyond the Tall Pines
    by Donlon, Patricia

    In the late 1800s the little town of Harmony, South Dakota, was a peaceful place
    to live, until one day when a band of Indians massacred the entire population.
    On this particular day, an old Indian couple came to Harmony to trade, arriving
    shortly after the massacre. They were distraught at what they found. Hearing
    whimpering, they went searching for where the sound was coming from. They
    discovered two tiny children hidden under blankets. They knew if they left, the
    children would surely die. Uncertain of what to do, they finally decided to take
    the children with them. Upon returning to their camp and telling the others what
    had taken place in Harmony, it was agreed the safety of the children was the
    most important thing. Two old braves went high up the mountain to seek a safe
    haven for the children and the tribe. Finally, after a long search, they found a
    valley hidden beyond very tall pine trees.
    Beyond the Tall Pines
  • Survivor
    by Palahniuk, Chuck

    In the City of the World's Desire, in the palace of Topkapi, someone remembered
    that there was a young woman named Kukla who had once been the servant of the
    legendary French Sultana Aimee de Rivery. Unlike any other female in Sultan
    Abdulaziz's harem, she could speak both French and his mystical Ottoman. And
    Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was about to pay an imperial visit. .
    . Kukla was remarkable also for the fact that she had one blue eye and one
    yellow. In the Paris of 1868, Casimir de Chateauneuf had discovered a miniature,
    painted by an unknown artist, and had fallen in love with the face in the
    portrait - a woman with one blue eye and one yellow. As East meets West with the
    epic construction of Ferdinand de Lesseps' Suez Canal, two people, whose worlds
    are so far apart, are destined to dream the same dream. . . 'Alev Croutier has a
    rare gift for braiding history and fiction in an intricate pattern. In her
    writing Turkey emerges like the land of Scheherazade. ' - Isabelle Allende
    Survivor
  • Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
    by Packer, Z. Z.

    Brownies BY OUR SECOND DAY at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had
    decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie Troop 909. Troop 909
    was doomed from the first day of camp; they were white girls, their complexions
    a blend of ice cream: strawberry, vanilla. They turtled out from their bus in
    pairs, their rolled-up sleeping bags chromatized with Disney characters:
    Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Mickey Mouse; or the generic ones cheap parents
    bought: washed-out rainbows, unicorns, curly-eyelashed frogs. Some clutched
    Igloo coolers and still others held on to stuffed toys like pacifiers, looking
    all around them like tourists determined to be dazzled. Our troop was wending
    its way past their bus, past the ranger station, past the colorful trail guide
    drawn like a treasure map, locked behind glass. "Man, did you smell them?"
    Arnetta said, giving the girls a slow once-over, "They smell like Chihuahuas.
    Wet Chihuahuas." Their troop was still at the entrance, and though we had passed
    them by yards, Arnetta raised her nose in the air and grimaced. Arnetta said
    this from the very rear of the line, far away from Mrs. Margolin, who always
    strung our troop behind her like a brood of obedient ducklings. Mrs. Margolin
    even looked like a mother duck-she had hair cropped close to a small ball of a
    head, almost no neck, and huge, miraculous breasts. She wore enormous belts that
    looked like the kind that weightlifters wear, except hers would be cheap
    metallic gold or rabbit fur or covered with gigantic fake sunflowers, and often
    these belts would become nature lessons in and of themselves. "See," Mrs.
    Margolin once said to us, pointing to her belt, "this one''s made entirely from
    the feathers of baby pigeons." The belt layered with feathers was uncanny
    enough, but I was more disturbed by the realization that I had never actually
    seen a baby pigeon. I searched weeks for one, in vain-scampering after pigeons
    whenever I was downtown with my father. But nature lessons were not Mrs.
    Margolin''s top priority. She saw the position of troop leader as an evangelical
    post. Back at the A.M.E. church where our Brownie meetings were held, Mrs.
    Margolin was especially fond of imparting religious aphorisms by means of
    acrostics-"Satan" was the "Serpent Always Tempting and Noisome"; she''d refer to
    the "Bible" as "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth." Whenever she quizzed
    us on these, expecting to hear the acrostics parroted back to her, only
    Arnetta''s correct replies soared over our vague mumblings. "Jesus?" Mrs.
    Margolin might ask expectantly, and Arnetta alone would dutifully answer,
    "Jehovah''s Example, Saving Us Sinners." Arnetta always made a point of
    listening to Mrs. Margolin''s religious talk and giving her what she wanted to
    hear. Because of this, Arnetta could have blared through a megaphone that the
    white girls of Troop 909 were "wet Chihuahuas" without so much as a blink from
    Mrs. Margolin. Once, Arnetta killed the troop goldfish by feeding it a french
    fry covered in ketchup, and when Mrs. Margolin demanded that she explain what
    had happened, claimed the goldfish had been eyeing her meal for hours, then the
    fish-giving in to temptation-had leapt up and snatched a whole golden fry from
    her fingertips. "Serious Chihuahua," Octavia added, and though neither Arnetta
    nor Octavia could spell "Chihuahua," had ever seen a Chihuahua, trisyllabic
    words had gained a sort of exoticism within our fourth-grade set at Woodrow
    Wilson Elementary. Arnetta and Octavia would flip through the dictionary,
    determined to work the vulgar-sounding ones like "Djibouti" and "asinine" into
    conversation. "Caucasian Chihuahuas," Arnetta said. That did it. The girls in my
    troop turned elastic: Drema and Elise doubled up on one another like
    inextricably entwined kites; Octavia slapped her belly; Janice jumped straight
    up in the air, then did it again, as if to slam-dunk her own head. They could
    not stop laughing. No one had laughed so hard since a boy named Martez had stuck
    a pencil in the electric socket and spent the whole day with a strange grin on
    his face. "Girls, girls," said our parent helper, Mrs. Hedy. Mrs. Hedy was
    Octavia''s mother, and she wagged her index finger perfunctorily, like a
    windshield wiper. "Stop it, now. Be good." She said this loud enough to be
    heard, but lazily, bereft of any feeling or indication that she meant to be
    obeyed, as though she could say these words again at the exact same pitch if a
    button somewhere on her were pressed. But the rest of the girls didn''t stop;
    they only laughed louder. It was the word "Caucasian" that got them all going.
    One day at school, about a month before the Brownie camping trip, Arnetta turned
    to a boy wearing impossibly high-ankled floodwater jeans and said, "What are
    you? Caucasian?" The word took off from there, and soon everything was
    Caucasian. If you ate too fast you ate like a Caucasian, if you ate too slow you
    ate like a Caucasian. The biggest feat anyone at Woodrow Wilson could do was to
    jump off the swing in midair, at the highest point in its arc, and if you fell
    (as I had, more than once) instead of landing on your feet, knees bent Olympic
    gymnast-style, Arnetta and Octavia were prepared to comment. They''d look at
    each other with the silence of passengers who''d narrowly escaped an accident,
    then nod their heads, whispering with solemn horror, "Caucasian." Even the only
    white kid in our school, Dennis, got in on the Caucasian act. That time when
    Martez stuck a pencil in the socket, Dennis had pointed and yelled, "That was so
    Caucasian!" * WHEN YOU lived in the south suburbs of Atlanta, it was easy to
    forget about whites. Whites were like those baby pigeons: real and existing, but
    rarely seen or thought about. Everyone had been to Rich''s to go clothes
    shopping, everyone had seen white girls and their mothers coo-cooing over
    dresses; everyone had gone to the downtown library and seen white businessmen
    swish by importantly, wrists flexed in front of them to check the time as though
    they would change from Clark Kent into Superman at any second. But those images
    were as fleeting as cards shuffled in a deck, whereas the ten white girls behind
    us-invaders, Arnetta would later call them-were instantly real and memorable,
    with their long, shampoo-commercial hair, straight as spaghetti from the box.
    This alone was reason for envy and hatred. The only black girl most of us had
    ever seen with hair that long was Octavia, whose hair hung past her butt like a
    Hawaiian hula dancer''s. The sight of Octavia''s mane prompted other girls to
    listen to her reverentially, as though whatever she had to say would somehow
    activate their own follicles. For example, when, on the first day of camp,
    Octavia made as if to speak, and everyone fell silent. "Nobody," Octavia said,
    "calls us niggers." At the end of that first day, when half of our troop made
    their way back to the cabin after tag-team restroom visits, Arnetta said she''d
    heard one of the Troop 909 girls call Daphne a nigger. The other half of the
    girls and I were helping Mrs. Margolin clean up the pots and pans from the
    campfire ravioli dinner. When we made our way to the restrooms to wash up and
    brush our teeth, we met up with Arnetta midway. "Man, I completely heard the
    girl," Arnetta reported. "Right, Daphne?" Daphne hardly ever spoke, but when she
    did, her voice was petite and tinkly, the voice one might expect from a shiny
    new earring. She''d written a poem once, for Langston Hughes Day, a poem
    brimming with all the teacher-winning ingredients-trees and oceans, sunsets and
    moons-but what cinched the poem for the grown-ups, snatching the win from
    Octavia''s musical ode to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, were Daphne''s
    last lines: You are my father, the veteran When you cry in the dark It rains and
    rains and rains in my heart She''d always worn clean, though faded, jumpers and
    dresses when Chic jeans were the fashion, but when she went up to the dais to
    receive her prize journal, pages trimmed in gold, she wore a new dress with a
    velveteen bodice and a taffeta skirt as wide as an umbrella. All the kids
    clapped, though none of them understood the poem. I''d read encyclopedias the
    way others read comics, and I didn''t get it. But those last lines pricked me,
    they were so eerie, and as my father and I ate cereal, I''d whisper over my
    Froot Loops, like a mantra, " You are my father, the veteran. You are my father,
    the veteran, the veteran, the veteran," until my father, who acted in plays as
    Caliban and Othello and was not a veteran, marched me up to my teacher one
    morning and said, "Can you tell me what''s wrong with this kid?" I thought
    Daphne and I might become friends, but I think she grew spooked by me whispering
    those lines to her, begging her to tell me what they meant, and I soon
    understood that two quiet people like us were better off quiet alone. "Daphne?
    Didn''t you hear them call you a nigger?" Arnetta asked, giving Daphne a nudge.
    The sun was setting behind the trees, and their leafy tops formed a canopy of
    black lace for the flame of the sun to pass through. Daphne shrugged her
    shoulders at first, then slowly nodded her head when Arnetta gave her a hard
    look. Twenty minutes later, when my restroom group returned to the cabin,
    Arnetta was still talking about Troop 909. My restroom group had passed by some
    of the 909 girls. For the most part, they deferred to us, waving us into the
    restrooms, let
    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
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